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How fatal wrecks impact Tennessee residents

An examination of data gleaned from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows a number of trends that might interest Tennessee motorists. These Fatality Analysis Reporting System statistics demonstrate that, while some places, like the District of Columbia, only had around 2.4 vehicle crash fatalities per 100,000 people, other locales, like Montana and North Dakota, played host to upwards of 20 fatalities per 100,000 residents.

According to statistics released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Highway Loss Data Institute, population density is a major contributing factor in motor vehicle death rates, but it isn't necessarily the deciding parameter. Tennessee, with a population of under 7 million, experienced more than 1,000 traffic fatalities in 2012. This total was on the same order of magnitude as the number of deaths in some more populated states, like New York.

The institute noted that details like road speeds and local traffic laws could also play roles in fatal crashes. In Tennessee, where just under 50 percent of fatal accident motorists had known BAC results yet data remained unavailable on the total percentage of drivers who sustained fatal injuries with BACs over the limit, alcohol could be a critical ongoing road safety factor. The Highway Loss Data Institute also pointed out that not all states maintain reporting information on BAC crash involvement.

Criminal courts don't always help survivors recover from vehicle accidents. For instance, a wreck that leads to the death of a primary caregiver or breadwinner might leave their relatives unable to afford their normal living expenses. Nonetheless, traffic courts and district attorneys aren't responsible for offsetting survivors' costs with judgment awards. Many victims consider wrongful death lawsuits and other civil court actions as a means of pursuing restitution.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, "Fatality Facts", December 30, 2014

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